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Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Media-Whore D'oeuvres









"BuzzFeed had a good November–more than 133 million unique visitors good. But although that traffic surpassed Gawker’s, Nick Denton sent a calming email to his employees to remind them that it’s not all doom and gloom. 'The bad news… We got overtaken by Buzzfeed in November. They surged to 133m global uniques. Damn. That’s impressive. And Upworthy — even smarmier than Buzzfeed — is nipping at our heels,' Mr. Denton wrote in an email this morning, which was first posted by Jim Romenesko. And Mr. Denton expects that traffic trend to continue until next year, when Kinja really 'comes into its own.' Kinja! But Gawker is still doing well. Not full Kinja potential well, but still. 'The good news: even with Kinja still under construction, Gawker & Co surpassed previous levels, with 106m global uniques in November. That’s a great foundation for expansion, one that most media companies would kill for, even if they’re more likely to die for it,' Mr. Denton wrote. Slam. Anyway, as Mr. Denton went on to note in his memo, 'Buzzfeed and Upworthy may be the most shameless,' but Gawker is “not completely averse to crowd-pleasing.'" (Observer)











"The suburb of Los Altos, dotted with sequoia trees and apricot orchards, resembles most wealthy areas in Northern California’s Silicon Valley, with a main street of shops selling hyper-athletic offerings, like fleeces for hiking nearby mountains, and Francophile designs to decorate Provençal-influenced homes (sterling-silver trivets, champagne flutes imported from Paris). But look a bit closer and there’s something different about this particular town. A stone’s throw from the Tesla and McLaren car dealerships of Palo Alto, Los Altos has an inordinate, almost absurd number of services that cater to children. A toy store is stuffed with puffy glitter stickers and neon science projects for kid geniuses. A farm-to-fork restaurant includes a nanny-staffed room for children so you can enjoy your meal in peace, and a 5,000-square-foot kids’ science center with an electromagnetic ring toss and an exhibition about the way the wind moves on the ocean opened its doors in December.
This childhood fantasia didn’t happen by accident: some of it is the result of urban-design investments made by Sergey Brin, the co-founder of Google, and his wife, Anne Wojcicki (pronounced Wo-jit-skee), the most important couple in town—and perhaps the most prominent young couple in Silicon Valley. With more than $30 billion in wealth—much of it in special B-class stock that allows Brin to retain a good share of his voting power in Google—they were ranked ninth among U.S. families in charitable giving last year, on their way to becoming Generation X’s answer to Bill and Melinda Gates. 'Sergey is a beloved oddball of a guy, and unlike [Google’s current and former C.E.O.’s] Larry Page and Eric Schmidt, he’s the one who gets to do the cool stuff at Google,' says an industry observer. “He said, ‘Larry, you do the hard, prestigious work, and at the end of your life you’ll do the fun stuff, like Bill Gates. But I’m cutting out the bullshit and Davos and doing the fun stuff right now.’ ” Wojcicki, in her professional life as well as her personal one, is a powerful woman with ambitions that are enormous, which she funnels into her genetic-testing company, 23andMe. Last fall, Fast Company put her on the cover as 'The Most Daring CEO in America.' With two kids under six years old (hence the strong commitment to child-oriented activities in their town, even if the enterprise seems a bit Truman Show-like), the couple were widely seen as perfect for each other. Some people even called them 'twins': they’re the same age (40), went to elite universities, and are fanatical about the outdoors, yoga, and athletics. Brin likes springboard diving; Wojcicki rides an elliptical bike to work. Among the foremost examples of Silicon Valley’s data-driven pragmatism and optimism, they fervently believe the world can be a better place and have devoted themselves to making it so through their many interlocking ventures and family foundation, to which they contributed $187 million last year. But romantic scandals can happen even to those for whom 'good fortune arrives in fairytale-like flurries,' as The New York Times once wrote. The pair separated about 10 months ago. Last year Brin, a handsome, compact man with a toned physique, an enviable head of hair, and sparkling brown eyes, left the family’s spread on a $7 million Los Altos lot while dating a Google employee in her mid-20s, Amanda Rosenberg—who, in turn, ditched her boyfriend, then a prized executive at Google’s Android arm, for Brin. Gossip about the situation ricocheted quickly among the upper echelons of the wealthy fortysomethings leading Silicon Valley. Making things even more complicated, Wojcicki, says a friend of the couple’s, considered Rosenberg 'a friend.'" (VanityFair)













"Last Sunday night at Restaurant Daniel, Citymeals-on-Wheels Board of Directors Co-President Chef Daniel Boulud continued his long-time support of Citymeals-on-Wheels with his annual Sunday Dinner. This year’s theme was 'Burgundy, Black Truffles and Blue Jeans.' Citymeals prepares and delivers more than 2 million weekend, holiday and emergency meals to 18,000 homebound elderly New Yorkers. Chef Boulud was joined in the kitchen by Chef Régis Marcon, a 1995 winner of the world-renowned Bocuse d’Or culinary competition and co-owner of Hôtel et Restaurant Régis et Jacques Marcon. The three Michelin-starred Chef Marcon is also the current president of Bocuse d’Or France. 160 guests were served a splendid late winter menu celebrating black truffles. The dinner was paired with fine red and white Burgundy vintages chosen by Head Sommelier at DANIEL Raj Vaidya. Among those attending were: Chef Cesare Casella, Gael Greene, Robert S. Grimes, Suri Kasirer, Philippe Laffont, Deborah Roberts and Al Roker, Ernie Thrasher, and Lillian Vernon and Paolo Martino." (NYSD)







"Patton, also known as 'the Princeton Mom,' earned viral infamy last year when she wrote an open letter to the Daily Princetonian advising female students to “find a husband” before graduation. ('I am the mother of two sons who are both Princetonians. My older son had the good judgment and great fortune to marry a classmate of his, but he could have married anyone. My younger son is a junior and the universe of women he can marry is limitless.') Now she’s written Marry Smart: Advice for Finding THE ONE, a sassy self-help book from Simon & Schuster. The publicity kit refers to it as 'Lean Out for women like those on the campus of her beloved alma mater.' And Patton certainly loves Princeton. During my tour of her sprawling apartment, I try to catalogue the college paraphernalia on display but lose track after the first room. There are Princeton pennants and disembodied tiger tails and orange-and-black craft projects. Orange-and-black pebbles fill a decorative bowl; an orange-and-black quilt drapes the sofa; an orange feather boa sits on a shelf. "Who doesn't need an orange feather boa?" she asks, wrapping it around her neck and vamping. Lucille, Patton points out, has naturally orange fur. The only presence to rival Princeton is that of Patton’s two sons, whose framed photos tile all vertical surfaces. Daniel, the elder, graduated from Princeton in 2010 and is now a lawyer. (His wedding to a fellow second-generation Princetonian featured a sing-along to Princeton’s fight song.) Younger son Alex will graduate this spring. ;My sons! Aren’t my sons just the greatest thing in the world?” Patton marvels. She recently finalized her divorce from Daniel and Alex’s father, a man who 'went to a college of almost no name recognition,' which she still refuses to name. Now she lives alone with Lucille.The impetus for Patton's letter, she says, was provided by the 'incredibly accomplished women"'she met in the course of 18 years as a human resources consultant and life coach. "They come to me when they’re in their mid- to late-30s and say, Susan you have got to get me out of here, I’m miserable. I’m talking about women who are editors-in-chief, heads of marketing, publishers. They’re making 400 or 500,000 a year. They have wardrobe budgets, salon budgets, T&E budgets. Endless budgets! They’re on every A-list in town. And they are profoundly unhappy. The job is not the problem. They have very good jobs. But they go home to an empty apartment.” The lesson, according to Patton: 'You’ve been so invested in your professional super-stardom that you took your eye off the ball. You have no husband and no children, but the ship has already sailed! It’s too late. You don’t get to have everything.'Marry Smart (which Patton plans to follow with Parent Smart and Work Smart) advocates starting the husband-search during the college years. Its advice ranges from practical ('plan for your personal happiness with the same commitment and dedication that you plan for your professional success') to old-fashioned ('it’s the lonely cow that gives away free milk') to charmingly kooky (an ode to her 'lifelong imaginary friend' Caroline Kennedy) to shockingly offensive (a chapter entitled “Birds of a Feather” denounces interracial and interfaith relationships). She also questions the legitimacy of date rape. " (NYMag)

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